Brian Patten (Halesworth Arts Festival 2015)

I’d met him once before at Aldeburgh. This time, in conversation with Dean, I felt an innate shyness. Odd when one recalls his confident youthful beginnings. At the age of 15 he was on a trajectory, on the road, anchored with notable poets: McGough 10 years older, was slightly awed by him. Part of the Liverpool Beat. McGough, Adrian Henry.
‘Me dad fucked off when I was 3 months old. Bought up with Gran, Grandad and Mum. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a tough struggling beginning, it’s just the house was full of silences.’
As a 15 year old bad speller, remarkably, a newspaper editor gave him a break and he stepped out as a journalist. 1967 Mersey sounds. From then on to today, he’s made his living as poet – unusual. He puts it down to few constraints, like family, and living modestly.
I never knew he spent time in bucolic Winchester (finding friendship with Brian Eno, from school of art)
Writing poetry today. ‘It’s like writing a diary’.

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